The One Page Seed Stage Dashboard

I recently prepared this template for one of our portfolio companies and thought I’d share it. I’m a big fan of dashboards as a quick way to get a grasp on our companies. I believe all successful startups are data driven. So having a dashboard that everyone sees regularly keeps people focused.

This dashboard works for pre-revenue startups that are focused on building that initial user base. As a seed investor when we make an investment we do so with the following goals in mind:

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The Saas Math Funnel: Acquisition

For the 3rd instalment of SaaS Math, we’re going to dig into the 1st step in the conversion funnel: acquiring users. For this and all posts on the conversion funnel, I recommend you read/ watch Dave McClure’s excellent talk on Metrics for Pirates.

As the name suggests, acquisition is all about driving new users, readers or buyers depending on whether you’re running a SaaS, media or e-commerce business respectively. We’re just focusing on SaaS here but many of these principles flow into the other business types.

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Stats are everyone’s business

When I joined my 1st startup (10 years ago next month – yikes!), we were in the business of selling software licenses. Companies placed orders, we shipped them, invoiced them and moved on. We didn’t really know if the company was having success with our software. Sure, we asked. But, we could not know for sure whether they were using our stuff.

In this era of hosted web services we can and should measure everything we can. We no longer have to rely on a customer or user telling us if they use our stuff. We know it because we can track detailed info about who the user is, how she uses the service, how you acquired that user, etc, etc.

Starting with stats

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Don’t rely on averages

If you’re in the end user game (i.e. you don’t just sell to an IT department and move on, but you actually deal with many end users all the time), it can be comforting to look at averages on your key usage metrics. However, if you really want to understand user behaviour and generate more usage, you have to go deeper.

There is no such thing as an “average” user

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